Private companies including Volkswagen and Siemens have pledged to invest more than $700 million to boost U.S. manufacturing capacity for electric vehicle (EV) chargers, the White House announced on Tuesday.
The move is set to increase domestic capacity to manufacture more than 250,000 new EV chargers every year and will add at least 2,000 jobs, while making EV charging “more affordable, accessible, and equitable,” according to the Biden administration.
The investment will also support the $7.5 billion approved in Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to build a network of EV chargers across the nation.
According to the announcement, Volkswagen unit Electrify American pledged an investment of $450 million, which will support the swift deployment of up to 10,000 ultra-fast chargers at 1,800 charging stations across the United States; more than the number of high-power chargers currently available in the country.
Siemens also announced an investment of more than $250 million and is on track to build 1 million EV chargers over the next four years. The Munich, Germany-headquartered company will also expand its Grand Prairie, Texas and Ponoma, California EV charger plants.
Just 9.7 percent of households in cities across America have access to a public EV charging station within a quarter of a mile, or a five-minute walk, from their homes as of 2021, according to a report by location analytics firm Mobilyze.ai.
Most of those who do have better access tend to live in wealthier areas in cities like New York and Chicago, while black and Latino communities have notably fewer charging stations than those in white neighborhoods, according to the report.
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However, electric vehicles are still significantly more expensive than conventional vehicles, mainly owing to the raw materials such as nickel, cobalt, and lithium that are used in the battery.
Russia is home to the world’s largest nickel producer, Norilsk Nickel, which produced 145,817 metric tons of nickel in 2021 and is also a large provider of aluminum, which is used in batteries.
Meanwhile, China is the largest battery manufacturer in the world, with more than half of all lithium, cobalt, and graphite processing and refining capacity located in the country.
President Joe Biden has set a goal of creating a national network of 500,000 public charging stations, to be in place by 2030, and aims to ensure that 50 percent of new vehicles sold in 2030 are electric.
Biden has also activated the federal government’s purchasing power to acquire more zero-emission vehicles by 2027 and 100 percent zero-emission vehicles by 2035.
“Today’s announcements demonstrate how the president is catalyzing private investment to boost our domestic manufacturing capacity, enabling America to create a national network of chargers, and create thousands of new high-quality, union jobs building, installing, and maintaining it,” the White House said.
“Today, the auto industry renaissance continues as the private sector steps up to invest in American-made charging across the country.”
Earlier this month, Biden proposed new minimum standards and requirements for projects funded under its national program to boost the country’s network of EVs, which would ensure a “unified network of chargers with similar payment systems, pricing information, charging speeds, and more.”